Kawaii Kitties in Kimonos: Adventures in Creative Contrasts

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There is a fantastic shop in Houston called “My Flaming Heart.”  The proprietress and artist in residence makes beautiful retro fashions in the most delightful and eclectic of fabrics.  My Flaming Heart frequently sells the remnants of these fabrics.  I have been hoarding this Alexander Henry print for about six years.  It was from a 2009 collection called Kitty Kokeshi and it has been out of production for who knows how long.  I have had it so long, that I had forgotten exactly how many yards I had.  When I started the stash busting, 2.5 yard strappy dress project, I pulled it out and discovered I had 2 yards exactly.

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imageThen I remembered the three ladies from the “SO HAPPY STRAPPY DRESS” picture.  The brunette’s dress had a different fabric for the bodice versus the skirt.  It might be an applied trim.  Regardless, the skirt didn’t match the bodice.  This intrigued and inspired me.  I armed myself with a half yard of black, medium weight cotton and got started.

I fully lined the bodice and faced it with self bias strips.  The dirndl-style skirt is constructed from two, 44″ panels.  The whole thing is closed with a lapped zipper.  I may not have enough for a matching bodice, but I do have enough to make a cool belt or something, which I probably will do in the near future.  image

One of the ways I get away with using so little fabric on these dresses, besides being really short, is facing the hem with whatever fabric I used on the lining.   By doing this, I can get a tea length skirt with a 29 or 30 inch long skirt panel.   Most of the time, I face the skirt on the inside.  This time, however, I thought it might pull the whole design together to face it with a contrasting band.  I think it looks pretty sharp.  

The straps are made using the same technique from my earlier tutorial.  I don’t plan on wearing it until Saturday night, which is the Fella’s birthday party.  Over all, I’m really pleased with the effect of the contrasting, neutral black bodice and the busy and colorful skirt.  I’m glad I was able to eek out such a great dress, from such an adorable fabric.  Otherwise the kitties might have ended up languishing in the closet for another six years and no one wants that!  

imageThings at the Modage are really hopping.  I have another new series starting soon, which features collaboration with the fella that I’m really looking forward to writing.  Friday, I will have another installment of “My Favorite Things” and starting Monday, I will have the first full week of Self-Stitched-September outfits.  Follow me on Instagram for previews of coming posts, like One Week One Pattern and the Fella’s birthday party.